Former customs officer sentenced

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Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:00 am

Trisha Maldonado

Douglas Dispatch

On Aug. 19, Douglas resident and former customs officer Luis Carlos Vasquez, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David C. Bury to 151 months in prison.

Vasquez was found guilty by a federal jury in February on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, one count of conspiracy to import marijuana and one count of importation of marijuana, aid and abet.

“When law enforcement officers like Luis Vasquez conspire with others to violate the very laws they are sworn to enforce, it undermines public confidence in the entire criminal justice system,” United States Attorney John Leonardo said. “He is deserving of the harsh punishment he received as he has not only disgraced himself and betrayed the public trust placed in him, but he has insulted the vast majority of his fellow officers who strive every day to perform a difficult job with integrity, honesty and dedication.”

The evidence at trial showed that Vasquez, along with other members of the conspiracy, used his position as an inspector at the Douglas Port of Entry to allow over 1,200 pounds of marijuana into the United States from Mexico through the Douglas Port of Entry.

His role in the conspiracy was to use his position to allow pick-up trucks loaded with marijuana to cross the international border without inspection.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and Office of the Inspector General, and the Douglas Police Department. 

The prosecution was handled by James T. Lacey, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

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  • anonymous posted at 8:20 am on Fri, Oct 25, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    I know my tio is innocent and I know he didn't mean to do all this and I'm not mad at him at all and I hope to see him soon because all of you that are saying he deserves this your wrong he had an awesome life with his kids an his new kid and his beautiful wife

  • anonymous posted at 7:04 pm on Fri, Sep 6, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    To ChimichangaI'm not an Officer but have great respect for those who have chosen to follow that career. But I have not respect for the Officers and Agents who believe that simply because they have a badge, they are somehow better or above everyone else. You and I both know that there are people who work in our local federal agencies that have no business being in law enforcement.I don't wear rose colored glasses and believe that no corruption exists, but am I to distrust you in my community as a local law enforcement Officer just because of something your co-worker did? Do I now think that there are more Officers at the port of entry that are also on the take? Absolutely not! To AlexI would also like to now what different evidence was presented or not presented to convince the jury this time. But why chastise his co-workers for supporting him? Would you not call on your closest friends and fellow co-workers to help you out during a time when your character is questioned? I would hope that I could rely on my friends to come to my aid when I need them. Now if Luis lied to his co-workers about his involvement and was able to convince them of his innocence then shame on Luis for exploiting their friendship.

  • anonymous posted at 10:24 pm on Thu, Sep 5, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    So the defendant's witnesses, they were his coworkers and they defended him and talked about how great he was. Were they really that stupid to realize that he was indeed involved in the crime, or were they involved in it as well? I was able to go to the first trial where there was a hung jury, I wasn't able to attened the second trial. I want to know what evidence they found against him on the second trial because in the first one it was all speculation.

  • anonymous posted at 1:19 pm on Wed, Sep 4, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    Big Blue Line, i totally agree with you! I also think that the other relationship need to be looked at more closely. The others involved only recieved probation, but continue to carry on relationship with other officers and agents here in douglas and other border areas. The officers and agents that are brother-in-laws, cousins, and freinds with all that were involved need to closely watched because i'm sure they knew this was going on.

  • anonymous posted at 1:30 am on Wed, Sep 4, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    To ME, I never said I was sickened nor did I say that I want to leave. So please read my last post again before jumping to conclusions. I'm simply stating the obvious. Where there is one corrupt officer there is usually another and It seems that you are offended by that statement but that's too bad. And it seems to me that you want to turn a blind eye to corruption by pretending that it does not exist when in fact it is all around us. You must be an officer since you are so offended by my post.

  • anonymous posted at 12:00 pm on Tue, Sep 3, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    I wonder how Luis feels knowing that his brother in law snitched him out and all he got was probation even though he had been in prison before? If I was a betting person I would bet that his brother in law was the one that got Luis started and basically got away with a slap on the wrist. Justice was served and seeing how Luis was supposed to be protecting our borders he got his just dues but in a way I do not see it as fair as they all should have got equal time for their part in it.

  • anonymous posted at 11:41 am on Tue, Sep 3, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    Yet the government allows "medical" marijuana to be sold lol, this guy was in the wrong your eyes current feds your risking your lives for something in which the government already wants but citizens don't know it.. God Bless

  • anonymous posted at 4:44 am on Mon, Sep 2, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    I wonder what kind of people in this country would have bought all that drug, those Mexican cartels want us to become drug addicts. That will never happen!

  • anonymous posted at 1:26 pm on Sun, Sep 1, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    To chimichangaYou obviously are a resident of Douglas by career choice. If you are that sickened by the amount of supposed corruption in your work environment and town, why don't you leave. Vasquez was receiving payment for letting loads through by outside interests, but Officers who are incompetent and ignorant should also be booted for wrongly accepting pay checks for their services. I hope Vasquez rots in jail for his actions, but the thought that there has to be more corrupt Oifficers because of what he did is asinine.

  • anonymous posted at 4:55 pm on Fri, Aug 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    It wouldn't surprise me if Douglas still is one of most corrupt towns in the U.S. The port was also one of the most corrupt ports in the U.S. at one time. The problem also is that the culture of corruption that comes from Mexico makes its way here. Over there if you wear a badge it's ok to be corrupt. The people are also ok with it for it's a way of life. It's no wonder things are falling apart there.

  • anonymous posted at 4:13 pm on Thu, Aug 29, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    Finally some justice!

  • anonymous posted at 12:04 pm on Thu, Aug 29, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    Well said Big Blue, job very well done. He thought he could get away with what he was doing. He even refused to take a plea deal because he was so cocky. I bet he regrets that now. Karla Prieto, Victor Stuppi and the other low-lives should have also gotten hard sentences. Hope this sends a message to any other dirty officers out there. Where there is one I'm sure there is another. I hope they continue to fall. Luis entered the job with the intent to perform illegal activities. One less to worry about.

  • anonymous posted at 4:32 am on Thu, Aug 29, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    The evidence in this case is clear, Greed, betrayal, disloyal, and untrustworthy, the sentence, 151 months, Great way to set precedence with drug cases such as this. In the end it is sad the uniform sworn to protect us was in disguise and only sworn to protect the Mexican cartel.

  • anonymous posted at 4:31 am on Thu, Aug 29, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    At one time Douglas was considered the third most corrupt city in the U.S. With all these arrest and now conviction hopefully that perception will change.

  • anonymous posted at 8:22 am on Wed, Aug 28, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    First of all I would like to say thanks to all that participated in the case and sent Vasquez to jail. Job well done! Mr. Vasquez deserves this harsh sentence that he received.